|1 LAL (-107) @ pinnacle|
10* Big Ticket: Take the LA Lakers (#523)
I’ve been underwhelmed with the Bucks dating back to the bubble in Orlando where they never found their regular season rhythm again and were bounced out of the playoffs early. Mike Budenholzer’s squad still has an impressive statistical profile: top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency – hence their ‘favorite’ status as I write this, despite the fact that they’re facing the best team in the league on Thursday Night.
Make no mistake about it – the Bucks are destroying the weak, but losing to the strong. Milwaukee’s eight wins have come against Detroit (3 times), Cleveland, Chicago, Orlando minus multiple starters, shorthanded Dallas in non-covering fashion, Golden State and Miami. And it’s surely worth noting that Milwaukee was favored in all five previous losses this season. The Bucks are over-rated; a ‘bet-against’ team as they step up in class.
Here’s the quote from Anthony Davis, after LA’s fourth quarter collapse against Golden State in their last contest, talking about the Lakers intense desire to avoid back-2-back losses this year – just like they did last season. “We know we’re a good team. We know that teams are going to come out and play their best against us. But the way we lost (to Golden State), we don’t like. Obviously, we have to look back at the film and see where we can be better, but we’ve always bounced back. We don’t like losing two in a row, so our next game (at Milwaukee), we’re going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win that game.”
It’s surely worth noting that after watching the film, Frank Vogel put the team through a tough practice on Wednesday, emphasizing low post defense. And it’s also surely worth noting that this is Game 1 of a grueling seven game road trip; a game that the Lakers are putting all kinds of emphasis on as a tone setter for their trip. From all indications, LeBron James is going to play, as is Anthony Davis. Put it all together and LA is worthy of a ‘step-up’ sized wager here! Big Ticket: Take the Lakers.